I’ve met plenty of vegans who are repulsed by the very thought or smell of eggs, and can’t believe they ever ate them. But there are others who will admit to missing something about an omelet, or an egg salad sandwich, or quiche, at least until they think about where eggs come from. Eggs, the kind with shells on them, are bird (or reptile) menstruation. In terms of standard modern consumption, the menstruation of a chicken. Usually a filthy, caged, suffering chicken. Now that you’re completely grossed out, let’s talk about making plant foods taste like eggs! You really can have the taste with none of the cruelty or ickiness.
Black salt is the common name for Kala Namak, a powdered spice from India. It is pinkish-grey in color and tastes like sulfur. I found a 3.5 oz bag for just $1.90 at India Unlimited, an Indian grocery store in Foothill, located right near the liquor store. That’s it downstairs, under the balcony. I took a distant shot so you could spot the surrounding stores. Click to enlarge. I highly recommend this store for affordable spices, rice, beans, and soy foods! They also sell Bollywood videos (on VHS) for less than the black salt cost me, so if you still have a VCR, pick up a few!
This is what the black salt looks like in the package. It was rather clumpy, so I crushed it back into a powder before spooning it into a spice jar. This stuff is not good to eat on its own, and when you cook with it, you really just want a little bit! The sulfur flavor can quickly overpower, so go easy on it. Now that you’ve been warned, here’s a recipe to get you started.
Vegan Potato & “Egg” Salad
Growing up, this was just potato salad to me, but I’ve learned that “potato salad” means very different things to different people. As a child, I could devour astonishing amounts of this stuff, and I learned last weekend, to my chagrin, that I’ve retained that ability. I didn’t even get a picture of it before I finished it off!
- 5 or 6 large, boiled Russet potatoes, cooled (soak in cold water or just allow to cool overnight.)
- 1 package of extra firm tofu
- 3 Tbsp Vegenaise
- 1 tsp black salt
- 1 tsp turmeric
- standard yellow mustard
- 5 large dill pickles
- salt & pepper
- fresh chives for garnish
First, cut the tofu into small pieces with a sharp knife. Do not mash it with a fork. Put the tofu pieces in a bowl and add black salt and turmeric, stirring until it resembles chopped, hard-boiled eggs in both taste and color.
Cut potatoes into chunks and place in a large bowl. Chop the pickles and add them. Then add Vegenaise and the tofu “egg” mixture. Add mustard to taste, and do the same with salt & pepper. Sprinkle chives on top before serving.
If you like, you can fancy up the recipe with garlic, slices of celery or some diced onion, but this is the simple, kid-friendly potato salad I grew up with, and to be honest, it tastes exactly the way I remember it.
Edit to add:
If you take the above recipe, subtract the potatoes, and substitute a can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and smashed with a fork, you get “Egg” Salad! Here’s an egg salad sandwich, vegan-style: